Sales at American department store giants Macy’s and Kohl’s fell in the first quarter, as the retail sector struggles to cope with declining footfall in malls.
Macy’s recorded quarterly sales of $5.3bn, down from $5.8bn in the same period last year. Profits declined 39 per cent to $71m.
The decline was attributed to the closure of 68 Macy’s stores earlier this year.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette set out plans to support the brick and mortar business while also growing the online arm, saying that “we will invest to aggressively grow our digital and mobile business, while continuing the integration of our online and offline experience to allow our customers to shop the way they live.”
Sales at Kohl’s came in at $3.8bn, down from almost $4bn in 2016. The chain has also shut up several of its shops this year, closing 18 stores after a disappointing fourth quarter of 2016.
But Kohl’s CEO Kevin Manson was quick to point to the company’s inventory management and reduction of general expenses, which led to improved net income for the period of $66m compared to $17m last year.
Manson commented: “We are encouraged by the significant improvement in sales and traffic for the March and April period, after a weak February start to the first quarter.”